While voting for our new name, you may have noticed that the poll asked for you to rank your preferences, rather than simply vote for your preferred name. Recognizing the importance people feel around their naming preferences, we wanted to ensure that member’s full preferences were considered when deciding a name. As a result, the board decided to use something called Instant-runoff Voting (IRV), also known as preferential voting. IRV takes into account more than a voter’s top choice. Most importantly, IRV ensures that the our winning name of three options has the support of most voters.
In IRV, the winning candidate must secure a majority of votes. If no majority is present, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and those individuals who voted for the eliminated candidate then have their second choice represented – they essentially get to recast their vote with the reduced field of options. In this manner, IRV simulates a runoff election, but without requiring multiple rounds of voting. The least popular choice is eliminated and the vote is “instantly” rerun with the two remaining candidates, based on voters’ preferences.
In our case, it turned out that the name with the most votes under IRV also had the most number of #1 votes, although the margin was considerably smaller when second choices were factored in. Rerunning the vote with the top two options ensured that the winner secured a majority of the vote.